Do yourself a favour and learn a second language!

People who speak a second language have a significant delay in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

This factor has a stronger delaying effect, 4-5 years, than any of the drugs on the market for Alzheimer’s.

It’s in the Independent – a UK paper

Thank you for this link. I only hope I won’t forget to have a look at it.

I have read the article. The question that I would have is whether there is anything unique about language learning in terms of its stimulating effect on the brain or if any type of intellectual workout gives the same results.

BTW, the link above is too long for lingq to handle so you will have to copy it manually (the entire line, not just the blue segment) and paste it into your browser. I think someone else had already mentioned this, it is not a big hassle to use tinyurl or similar sites but if it is easy to fix, well, just fix it.

I’ve just ran it in tinyurl.

I meant to say that maybe this limitation in the lingq code is maybe relatively easy to fix, but maybe it isn’t…

Code-switching. What an attractive concept it is!

Code-switching practice

  1. ”People who speak a second language have a significant delay in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. ”
  2. 第2言語を話す人は、アルツハイマー型認知症がかなり遅れて発症する。
  3. Second languageを話す人は、 Alzheimer’s diseaseのonsetにおいてかなりのdelayが見られる。
  4. People who speak 第2言語 have a significant delay in アルツハイマー型認知症発症.
  1. 第2言語を話す人 have a significant delay in the onset of アルツハイマー型認知症.

People who speak a second language are more likely to know more words

That’s for sure. But I wonder what would happen to some professional translators / interpreters who often operate under pressure and look like shit.

3kingdoms, I prefer not to see vulgarity on our forum.

Oh, I consider it a common idiom, not vulgarity. But if you are allergic to it, I would not use it again.

The lines are increasingly blurred, unfortunately, but then I am over 65!! Thanks.

Unless I misunderstand the study they are referring to, they are just saying that patients who speak a second language have delayed symptoms and NOT that the second language caused this delay. To test if it was caused by the second language you’d have to randomly assign people who are going to get Alzheimer’s in to 2 groups (one learning and one not learning a second language) and measure the difference in their symptoms, because the correlation can exist for other reasons. A third factor might be responsible for both the delayed symptoms and the urge to learn another language for example.

There are several really good reasons to learn a second language though, I’d recommend it anyway. :wink:

@eidof Of course you’re right, only longitudinal studies will definitively prove that second language learning provides protection against Alzheimer’s. I suspect that there are other factors at work here. Interesting things occur in the brain with second (and additional,) language learning. There are a couple of things that I find interesting.

Firstly second language acquisition later in life is unlikely to be stored in eaxctly the same locations or manner as your native language(s). Secondly later language acquisiton also involves creating an addtional layer of associations to your native language(s). I’m not familar enough with the literature to say for sure but my guess would be that adding even more languages later in life will make your entire linguistic abilities even more resilient to damage and will probably create better opportunities for recovery.

There are a lot of stories of people selectively losing languages after traumas so it seems sensible to acquire more. At least no one seems to be suggesting that learning languages makes us more vulnerable to damage.

I wonder if one day doctors will prescribe learning languages with dramatically different grammatical stuctures to people with known genetic predispositions to disease? Imagine going to your doctor and hearing this. “You better learn Russian and Javanese or your going to have problems remembering what you’re doing by the time you get to 70.”

Don’t take me too seriously, I’m just having fun, but its nice to know that learning languages might be doing us good in unexpected ways.

To throw their case out the window I could easily say, those who learn another language have a tendency to have or do xyz in their lives which means that they do delay Alzheimers. May not be that act but the extension of individuality.

Dean, I agree. It’s the whole personality that is involved, and people who stay active and continue to develop have more chances that their bodies and minds remain more lucid and agile longer.

My wife’s grandfather was a professor of classics, and, in addition to speaking, reading and writing Greek and Latin, he apparently spoke English, French, German, Italian and Spanish relatively well. Then he was diagnosed with Alzhiemers and died from it a decade later. Go figure.

These ironies are always interesting. A great uncle of mine was a professor of Physics at an Ivy League university. All three of his children are mentally retarded, and he died of brain cancer. Both of my father’s grandmothers were English/Italian bilingual, each having learned English upon coming to the United States. Both died of Alzheimers.

I don’t expect my language learning to keep me from suffering from “the long farewell.” I just hope that I don’t have awareness of what’s happening to me, and that I am not too much of a burden on whatever family I have left at the time.

Hmm with that note, I revise my statement to this; Enjoy learning languages and hope the externalities are positive :stuck_out_tongue: